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Pele expects Olympic football to remain unchanged

Pele expects Olympic football to remain unchanged

Pele expects age restrictions on Olympic football squads to remain in place for some time.
To avoid competition with the World Cup, FIFA restricts the men's tournament to players 23 and under, with three exceptions for older players.
Domestic clubs are under no legal obligation to release players of any age for the competition, meaning that football's top stars rarely participate.
"We approved for three players," said Pele, who is a commissioner of sports for FIFA, on Thursday. "I don't think we can go back and make a change now. This is going to continue for some time."
The biggest stars at the Olympics this year have been Brazil's Ronaldinho and Argentina's Lionel Messi. Both had trouble getting permission from their clubs to play in Beijing.
In a media conference in Beijing, where Pele was introduced as an Ambassador for Rio Janeiro's bid to host the 2016 Olympics, the Brazilian also talked about Brazil's 3-0 loss to Argentina in the Olympic semifinal.
"That's football," Pele said. "Sometimes you win and sometimes you lose. It's always hard to play against Argentina. But this time I think they were better prepared, better coached than Brazil."
He said Messi has what it takes to win FIFA's Player of the Year Award in the near future.
"He has been proving match after match that he has the condition to be the No. 1 player in the world," Pele said.
He said Ronaldinho, who in the Olympics played in his first official competition in nearly five months, will be capable of returning to his top form.
"If he recovers his physical condition, he will be fine," Pele said.
The Brazilian said Rio de Janeiro will be ready to host the 2016 Olympics, and that it will gain an extra edge by hosting the 2014 World Cup.
"We are going to have everything in place," Pele said. "Transportation and communication infrastructure should be all there for the Olympics."
Pele, whose real name is Edson Arantes do Nascimento, helped Brazil win three of its five World Cup titles. He was legally declared a national treasure by the Brazilian government and in 1999 was voted Athlete of the Century by the world's national Olympic committees.


Updated : 2021-07-24 01:23 GMT+08:00